[Utrecht from above] [Front Side of PUSCII House]

Talk+Workshop Day at PUSCII@Utrecht

Sun 14th December 2003 - 1pm

"mutt+vim - fast_reply!"

"hey, holland! where are your questions?"

[Sven Guckes]


Place:  Utrecht.  @puscii
        Ganzenmarkt 26,
        Utrecht, Netherlands

Time:   Sun 14 December 2003, 1pm
        1h-2h  Talk, pause, then
        workshop until max 9pm
        (with pauses as necessary)

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Utrecht Flag

Talk - "mutt+vim - fast_reply!"

Apologies in advance:  I still have *no* clue about Dutch.
So I have to talk in English - or German.  Hope that's ok..
But I will use very simple English which everyone should be
able to understand - hopefully.  If not - please ask questions!

We'll learn how to edit email messages *fast* with vim -
with the help of some simple but effective macros.

=== Abstract

Answering Emails *fast* and yet making them *readable*:
The Goal: Fast editing of the message, keeping context,
throwing away unnecessary stuff, reformatting text easily
to fill the lines - but without TOFU or loss context.

You can achieve a lot with abbreviations and mappings -
but the speed of your fingers and your thinking is up to you! ;-)

I shall show how to reply to a sample mail:
Sender, headers, hello+signoff, signature.

[A Old View of Utrecht?]
=== Route

=== Creating a New Message

(small demonstratation)

  Goal:       Don't send like a spammer!
  From:       - always with realname, possibly nickname.
  Subject:    - never empty, adjust when finished.
  Reply-To:   - also with name; no redundancy.
  Message-ID: - date+time, random, include FQDN.

  Start off with Hello+Signoff.

  usual cause for messages: problem+question
  Explain the situation and the problem in an abstract way.
  Include all possible info.
  Put big data onto webserver and include the URL.
  Formulate the question clearly.

  Insert a URL (eg homepage) via abbreviation.
  Insert standard text from a prepackaged file.

  Append a signature.
  Attach a file.

  Summary:  Put a summary at the start.
  adjust the Subject: summary of nouns,
     maybe ask the most important question.
  Set Fcc.
  Set gpg/pgp encryption and/or signature.

  Postpone before sending?

=== Editing Replies

Message HEADER:
- Add addresses, possibly using aliases
- Adjusting the Subject (,cs ,CS)
- Directing the folder copy (#U -> "Fcc: +UTRECHT")

Message BODY:
- Attribution: Name+Address - Date+Time optional.
  (a one-time job)

- Delete trailing spaces. (unless format=flowed)
- Delete signoff+greeting.
- Fix attribution lines. (maybe)
- Convert TABs to spaces.

- private correspondence?  add a greeting.
  "Hi!" "Hello, again!" "Hello, FIRSTNAME!"  (,hi ,ha ;;)

- Break text into paragraphs of context.
- Reformat cited text (^J F5 F6)
- Squeeze whitespace runs (F10)

- pros and cons of automatically reformatting text
  (eg detecting tables)

Editing skills:
- "undo" required!  (webmailers usually have no undo.)
- insert long text fast -> abbreviations
- Deleting text.  Indicate ellipsis.
- Shifting (indenting) text
- Deleting paragraphs and sentences
- Reformat text - narrow+widen *and*
  keeping the quote levels, too
o Put text into a box (using a filter)
o Insert a spoiler
o Rotate text (ROT13 g?)
- Operate on columns, eg insert space
  after the quoting '>' of quoted text
- Quote/dequote cited text (,qp ,dp)
- Insert URLs from text file (:r!grep)
- Insert quotation           (,aq -> :r!agrep)
- Append signature           (,s  -> :r!agrep)
- Delete fullquotes          (dG  dip  d/foo)
o undo/redo to retrieve deleted text
o in-between headlines "[topic]"
- smileys
o ascii pictures

Conceptual Things:
- separate mails into different topics to create different threads.
  use vim's registers to store and recall already written text.


Please send me your questions and suggestions
so I can adjust my talk to answer your questions.
Send your emails to utrecht@guckes.net.

For the talk, bring a piece of paper and
a pen to take notes on your questions.
Then I can answer these during the workshop.

[Carillon by Francois and Pieter Hemony, 1663/1664]


Hopefully everyone will have hands-on experience with mutt there.
are there any PCs with outside connections to your home account?
or bring your laptops.  If you can install mutt via a package
then make sure it is a fairly new one, i.e. mutt 1.4.1.

But if you don't have mutt yet, well, installing mutt is not
very hard.  Just unpack, run "./configure && make && make install"
(last one requires to be "root" - unless you just want to install
mutt for yourself, then you need "./configure --prefix=$HOME".)

Let's see - what could we do?

I could of course show you some nice features about mutt:
command line (changing the layout of the folder index),
header line config, coloring, threading, display_filter,
showing DOCs+PDFs as text inline, using urlview,
removing duplicates, applying the tag-prefix...

  threading:  ~/Mail/nion

But we could also take a look at someone's mutt setup
and adjust it according to his wishes.  And you can
all watch it via the beamer and make suggestions, too.

You could see how you can add "roles" to your setup
(private address, work address, fun, hobby, whatever).
and we can take a look at "screen" and "procmail".

Basically, you can ask me about anything - but it is most
likely that I can answer questions about the programs and
projects which are linked from my homepage.

Anyway, I will add all your suggestions here, which I'll
then cover during the presentation, time permitting.

[Utrecht Chess Font]


this page:


Sven Guckes utrecht@guckes.net http://www.guckes.net/utrecht/ +49-179-3966141
Latest change: Sat Dec 13 18:18:18 CET 2003